Documentary About The Met's Latest Ring Production On PBS September 10
Careless me. I forgot to mention that as a prelude to the PBS Ring this month , there will be what looks like a fascinating documentary on the controversial production by Susan Froemke, a noted maker of documentaries , called "Wagner's Dream ". It will show how director Robert Lepage and an army of technicians and assistants prepared the ambitious and technologically sophisiticated production for performance , as well as how the singers and conductors adapted to its consiuderable demands and difficulties .
The production features a massive unit set of metal planks which constantly move around the huge Met stage along with computer-generated special effects of all kinds which would have been impossible with conventional stage technology . It has caused numerous difficulties for the singers and there have been some technical glitches during performances which were downright embarassing .
Many critics and commentators have reacted negatively to the production and even dismisse it as an artistic failure . Not having seen it yet, I will withhold judgment and you can decide for yourself , although this may be difficult if you don't have other Ring productions with which to compare it . There are quote a few of them on DVD now, including the Met's previous and traditional version , several from the Wagner shrine in Bayreuth and other European opera houses which tend to take great liberties with the story in terms of sets, costumes and staging, setting the action in the present day with the characters in modern dress etc. and have all manner of ridiculous arbitrary production gimmicks which fly in the face of Wagner's original intentions . Such productions have been endemic to Europe in our time, not only in Wagner, though less so in America .